Officer Charged After Video Showed Him Beating Black Man Accused Of Jaywalking

Aaron Brown
March 10, 2018

A North Carolina city has asked that all police body camera footage of a white officer beating a black man accused of jaywalking previous year be released. It began around midnight on August 25 when officer Christopher Hickman and a police trainee stopped 33-year-old Johnnie Jermaine Rush in Asheville and accused him of jaywalking and trespassing through a parking lot, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Christopher William Hickman has been charged with Assault by strangulation, Assault inflicting serious injury, and Communicating threats, according to the Buncombe County District Attorney's Office.

Asheville's mayor and City Council complained that they didn't know about the case until the video was published.

Johnnie Jermaine Rush recalled his encounter with Officer Chris Hickman and Verino Ruggiero, his colleague which took place on the night of the 24 of February. "I'm exhausted!" Rush says.

"When it's all said and done, just like every time, I have been ready and willing come to the table with whoever wants to do the work that's needed to get us past this", Hooper said.

"I'm not going to lie about that", Hickman later says.

Blake characterizes Rush, the victim, as "an incredibly humble grateful man".

Rush told the authorities that he was returning home from a 13-hour shift when he was approached by Ruggiero.

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Police already launched an investigation into the incident in January in order to determine whether the officer used excessive force while arresting the black man accused of jaywalking and trespassing. When he caught Rush, Hickman electrocuted him at least two times with his service stun gun and began punching him in the stomach and face.

She says the paper has gotten copy editing and production help from a fellow Gannett paper in Greenville, S.C. It also plans editorials on a broader, but not indiscriminate, release of bodycam evidence to the public.

While the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Wednesday that it had opened an investigation of Hickman's actions, Ruggiero is reportedly not being investigated in connection with Rush's beating and arrest. Hooper was asked whether she would do the same at last night's meeting, and she responded by saying she'd resign if people thought it would fix the problem. State investigators say they are working with the FBI to investigate Hickman's behavior.

Rush told The Citizen Times that the supervisor accused him multiple times of lying.

Although the beating occurred in August, the public was not informed of the incident until a source provided the body camera footage to the Citizen Times this week. Only about 12 percent of the population is black.

"We are angry that Johnnie Rush was attacked, beaten, choked and tased by a white police officer in violation of City policy and common decency", the statement read.

"The issue is a human rights issue", one person said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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